iPhone Effects: The iPhone’s influence on the telecom industry

Apple’s iPhone, whether successful or not, will have a huge influence on the telecom industry – changing cellular phones, voice and data bundles, UI / UX, hardware, software, telcos, and even reaching beyond the cellular world – right into mainstream corporate telephony where InGenius plays.

Apple’s iPhone

The iPhone’s UI, like all Apple UI’s is just beautiful. It brings a smile to your face when you use it, and if you are watching someone fiddle with it, you’d just have to grab the phone out of their hands and play with it. This is something that doesn’t happen to often these days – the last time I remember grabbing someone’s phone was when my friend Jacques got a Blackberry Pearl. I just HAD to try out that trackball.

The iPhone UI redefines mobile phone UI’s – it’s a complete redesign of every aspect of the UI, adding features that are intuitive, simple, and powerful.

Every mobile manufacturer HAS to have an iPhone by now – the CEO HAS to have stormed into the UI department, slammed the phone down and said “Make our phones work like this!” Which would be followed by a room full of Industrial Designers, UX experts, hardware and software engineers being excited, horrified and terrified at the prospect. I know we are!

The UI requires a ton of in-the-phone back-end infrastructure to make work – the phone needs tons of memory, a great display, a powerful CPU, a graphics library with a ton of 3D effects, and stacks and stacks of other software. This will end up being a fantastic benefit to us normal phone users – as all these software and hardware capabilities become available in phones, EVERY app on the phone will benefit, as well as third-party apps. It’s a great motivator to get decent performance out of our hand-held devices. I can’t wait to browse and use Google Maps on my mobile – at desktop speeds!

And the influence is felt in telcos as well. AT&T had to do a TON of back-end work to support the iPhone. Consider the voicemail application alone! The iPhone has a voicemail client that is very closely tied into the telco’s voicemail system – showing the user a list of voicemails on the phone, with caller ID info for each – and the ability to play voicemails in any order, and even to delete voicemails in any order. This is a HUGE barrier to entry for any telco that wants to support the iPhone – I’m sure Apple has defined an API that all the telcos and their big voicemail providers are busy implementing right now (ANOTHER reason why won’t see the iPhone in Canada any time soon…)

Hopefully the telco’s web sites will be improved as well. I remember how excited I was to get my first camera phone – a Samsung from Bell Canada. Then, I snapped my first photos (before leaving the store even!), and then I discovered the horrid UI on the phone for managing the photos – and the even WORSE UI at Bell for managing photo uploads. It was a complete disaster at Bell – the site was horrible, impossible to navigate, very difficult to download photos or share them, and very very slow. Hopefully the iPhone experience will revolutionize this area as well.

And the influence of the iPhone will extend well beyond mobiles as well. You HAVE to figure that Palm, Microsoft, and every other handheld manufacturer is busy revamping their UI’s – as well as beefing up their hardware capabilities. In a year or two, all handhelds will be much faster, and have much better capabilities – way beyond the normal speed of evolution – as the manufacturers struggle to catch up, and surpass the iPhone.

And, remember that this is only V1.0 of the iPhone. Apple is busy building newer and greater applications as we speak! Of course, the iPhone will transition from the cellular network to your 802.11 wireless network when you’re at home or at work. Of course, we’ll see companies licensed to develop applications for the iPhone – I’m sure Apple is talking to a ton of it’s loyal application vendors, giving them first shot at developing cool iPhone applications. There’s a camera there waiting to be exploited – video conferencing, live VLOGing, live podcasts. And, ebooks, social networking apps, uber presence, and on. I can’t wait!

And, the iPhone is affecting us in the landline phone business as well. We’re working on some awesome home and business phone products now – and our UI designs will certainly be influenced by the iPhone. We’re already pushing the hardware people to add tons more capabilities to the hardware we work with. Our customers expect very fast UI’s, a nice user experience, colour, video, andio, etc, and we’re working to add those daily. It’s a ton of fun in every aspect of the telecom industry right now.

Thanks Apple!


One response to “iPhone Effects: The iPhone’s influence on the telecom industry”

  1. Mitch says :

    Great overview, Rich.

    Certainly the demand for UI / UX designers is incredible right now. We’re even considering hosting a Job board at SensoryMetrics specifically for this. Typically I’ll get a dozen recruiters a month landing on SM from Google looking for qualified designers.

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